Making fresh and quick meals for your family is easy with batch preparation. Batch freezing food ensures that you can quickly feed the family during the week with less time on having to prepare.
Being a mum is one of the most rewarding experiences in the world. It’s also one of the hardest. I have always been an organised person but when I became pregnant just over 4 years ago I knew I needed to kick it up a notch. The change to how we lived was going to be huge so I wanted to have systems in place to make the transition as easy as possible.
It was decided to start with the kitchen. I loved cooking but never really put much thought into how I was doing it. Each day I decided what was for dinner & pop to the shops for the ingredients. It wasn’t really practical with a baby & also it was costing us a lot more money.
Meal planning & shopping for batch freezing fresh food
I created a list of all the dinners we like to eat & then made a 4 week rotating roster. This roster mean that I know what is for dinner each night & can shop in advance. I also created a master shopping list, which includes all the items needed to make these meals, along with extras such as breakfast cereals, etc. In the beginning I did my shopping weekly but over the following few months I adapted it to make things easier for myself.
I now shop for pantry staples & meat monthly, fruit & vegetables fortnightly & fresh items like milk & bread weekly. In order to keep costs down I stick to a weekly budget & shop the specials at Coles, Woolworths & Costco. I get my vegetables from a local green grocer & meat from a local wholesale butcher as I find it fresher & cheaper.
The biggest part of this system is the food preparation. Once a month I do a meat, fruit & vegetable shop. The following fortnight I shop again for fruit & vegetables.
Food Prep for batch freezing
Once home I start my prep. I divide the meats in to portions for each meal & I cut it for the purpose. For example, chicken breast I cut into two sizes for the different types of meals, small pieces for stir-fry’s & larger pieces for baked dishes, etc. I then pop the portions into Décor Tellfresh containers, labelled with vinyl labels from Lovely Label Co, & into the freezer ready to be used over the next month. I love this system as every container has a specific purpose & is reusable, I just pop it in the dishwasher after use & then it’s ready for my next shop.
Preparing fruit and vegetables to freeze
For fruit & vegetables I follow a very similar system. I wash, dry & cut it all for their purpose. With fruit, I store the first week in the fridge. I use a container for a weeks’ worth of each item. For the second week we use items that will not spoil quickly such as apple, oranges, grapes, etc & pop freezable items in the freezer & grab them out when needed.
Fruits that freeze well
The fruits that I have found freeze well & tend to use the most in this way are apple, blueberries, banana, pineapple & watermelon (for smoothies), mandarin, mango, pear, raspberries, strawberries & tomatoes.
We also eat a bit of salad but most of this keeps well in the fridge for the fortnight when prepped this way.
Preparing vegetables for batch freezing
Vegetables are a little different as I portion them per meal, like with the meat. I store the first week in the fridge & the second week in the freezer. In the second week as I need vegetables for my meals, I cook them straight from the freezer, no defrosting, as this ensures they are still fresh & yummy. Our usual vegetables for freezing are beans, broccoli, brussel sprouts, carrots, cauliflower, corn, mushroom, onion, pumpkin, red onion, spinach, spring onion & sweet potato.
I prepare potato directly before using as I feel they go a bit watery after being frozen.
This system not only saves us money but also time as most of the elements for the meals are ready in advance. I just need to add them to a pot, dish, frypan & it’s good to go. Due to the few hours I spend preparing this food, most meals my family have require less than 20 minutes to prepare which is a huge relief when hungry children are running around my feet while I am trying to cook.
About the author:
Karlie is the mother of 2 young girls with another due in July. She’s a small business owner, work from home mum & the co-creator of Facebooks Mums Who Organise & its affiliated groups. She loves an organised house & spending time with her family.